TO JOHN STAUPITZ
The Pope accused Staupitz to the Archbishop of Salzburg of being an adherent of Luther, and Staupitz agreed to submit to the Archbishop’s verdict.
February 9, 1521.
I rejoice that you have been assailed by Pope Leo X., and can now let the world see how the cross which you have so often preached to others may be borne. For I do not desire that wolf to derive more satisfaction from your too complaisant answer than he should receive, else he would fancy that you have repudiated me and mine when you suffer him to be umpire.
Therefore, if you love Christ, may this letter lead you to recant, for all you have preached and taught up till now of the mercy of God is condemned in this Bull.
And it appears to me that as you are well aware of this, you cannot, without insulting Christ, appoint one of His opponents as judge — one whom you see emptying the vials of his wrath against the word of grace, — for it was your duty to rebuke him for such godlessness. This is no time for cowardice, but for raising the alarm when we see our Lord Jesus slandered and condemned. Hence, as you admonish me to humility, so much the more would I exhort you to pride. For, you are far too humble, while I
am too proud. This is a serious matter. When we see the beloved Saviour, who gave Himself for us, being held up to derision everywhere, ought we not to fight for Him, and offer up our necks for Him? My dear father. The danger is greater than many suppose. The gospel begins thus: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
I would not be ashamed of being accused of any vices, or being called an enemy of the Pope, if no one can accuse me of keeping a godless silence when the Lord cries: “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). For I hope, through the power of such a testimony, to be purified from all my sins.
And this is why I have so joyfully showed the horns against this Roman idol and true Antichrist. For the Word of God is not one of peace, but of the sword! Behold the simple teaching the wise! I write this in all good faith to you; for I much fear that you will hover in suspense between Christ and the Pope, although they are at open defiance with each other. But let us pray that the Lord Jesus may destroy this child of perdition with the breath of His mouth! So if you do not follow now, let me go on alone. If God will, I shall not be silent as to this monstrosity. Your declension has indeed vexed me not a little, and showed me another Staupitz than he who was wont to preach free grace and the cross. Had you acted thus before you knew of this Bull and Christ’s reproach, it would not have grieved me so. Von Hutten and many others write boldly on my behalf, and songs are being daily produced which will certainly not be cause of rejoicing to that Babel. Our Prince is not only acting judiciously and believingly, but is also steadfast. Philip f11a sends greeting, and wishes you a greater
and more joyous spirit. Please greet Dr. Ludwig the physician, who has written very learnedly to me. I
had not time to write him, for I have to superintend three printing-presses, all alone.
Farewell in the Lord, and pray for me. Your son, MARTIN LUTHER . WITTENBERG. (De Wette.)